- Dec 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm #3509883
Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
For those born as rich trust fund babies, none of the following applies.
For the rest of us who have to work, hiking time usually means sacrifices. Of course as with many things in life, luck (good or bad) comes into play.
Take me for example, I bombed out with every relationship I ever had. That means I never got married and I never had any kids. That in itself frees up lots of hiking time.
Another big factor comes down to how much someone values luxury, status and the material world. Let’s face it, most Americans are brainwashed into thinking they need all this stuff….the big house, nice car, fine dining, expensive vacations, high dollar hotels. They go in debt and most don’t see that they’re becoming a slaves to their wants. It’s like they get on a treadmill they can’t get off of. Many work 50 to 60 hours a week just to pay for it all.
Then there’s dirt bag hikers like myself who care nothing for everything listed above. When I get out into the wilderness, I’m at my happiest. The forests and deserts are my cathedral. To hell with the man made world. Man has brought nothing but war, pollution, destruction of habitat, traffic, stress, etc, etc.
It’s hard to get in lots of hiking while working a real job. Even with 3 weeks a year vacation and holidays, there’s not a lot of time. I worked for myself for many years and I could set my own hours, but I was still limited. Yet I’ve always managed to find cheap rent and I drive my cars until the wheels fell off of them. If I eat out it’s usually the bargain menu at Hardees or something. I shop at thrift stores and practice frugality to the max.
As a wise man once told me: “it’s not what you make, it’s what you don’t spend!”Dec 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm #3509887
“Then there’s dirt bag hikers like myself who care nothing for everything listed above. When I get out into the wilderness, I’m at my happiest. The forests and deserts are my cathedral. To hell with the man made world. Man has brought nothing but war, pollution, destruction of habitat, traffic, stress, etc, etc.”
His post is about the best thing I’ve read in a while. It hits all the important points.
And it reminds me of all the years I backpacked and lived out of a pack as a dirt bag hobo. And I concur, humans are my least favorite animals and mammals and are vehemently most responsible for the destruction of whatever is left of our wild lands. The vanishing American landscape.
I guess if Jesus comes back and decides to live in the Eastern US he’ll have to pull his 40 days in the wilderness in some trees behind a Walmart . . . because our postage stamp wildernesses are going . . . going . . . gone.
Monte inspires me to post a pic of the tipi I used to live in for 21 years in the mountains of NC—
Like I said, it’s all about priorities. No wife, no bills, no kids, minimal one-day-a-week job as a church janitor 12 miles away etc. What made my Tipi so nice is there was no road to the ridgetop and so I had to cut in a 1 mile foot trail with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet and had to haul all my stuff in with a backpack. Great life on 40 acres of NC mountain land.
If you want to sleep with the beautiful and erotic Miss Nature in her Cathedral, you have to do it outside and as much as possible. It’s an ancient Religion and still the most powerful religion on the planet until the human race domesticates the land and destroys every last bit of wilderness.
I knew years ago America the Beautiful was gonna end due to development and sprawl and pollution and overpopulation so my mandate was to get out as much as possible before the bitter end. I even came up with a Mantra—
“If you’re outdoors you’re a success; if you’re indoors you’re a failure.” Amen.
Dec 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #3509934
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Tipi Walter.
Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
Was maximum time in the great outdoors a life goal that you consciously aimed for, or did it just work out that way? For Tipi and Monte it seems like a little of both was involved.
In my case I knew I loved backpacking from the moment of my first trip in 1973 (with my Dad, at age 17), but when I got married in 1982 I have to assume it was either cluelessness or hormones that led me to NOT make love of backpacking a key attribute to look for in a wife. Fortunately my wife and I connect beautifully in many other areas of life and I certainly don’t regret the choice I made, but when I see people who have found ways to spend huge, dreamy chunks of time in wild places I find myself wondering if that was an intentional life choice, or if, looking back, it was really a series of unplanned events that led to such an enviable outcome?Dec 31, 2017 at 1:38 pm #3510154
Claudia WBPL Member
@ Kat, thanks!Dec 31, 2017 at 1:39 pm #3510155
Claudia WBPL Member
Self righteous throttling of those who’s life choices and decision making are different, on or off trail, is tiresome. HYODH
I’m reminded of my last hike, where one in a group of us mentioned the resident know-it-all who post on another forum.
We all instantly knew who he is. We didn’t trash the guy, but collectively wished he would worry about the plank in his own eye.
LD hiking tends to smooth off everyone’s rough edges. I suppose that’s one reason hikers, an eclectic bunch, get along so well, at least on trail. Personally, I find that thrilling.
Volunteering on the Elissa was so much fun, in part because it was a mix of those who crew old ships, living hand to mouth and loving every minute; trust fund folk spending time outdoors; hard working (post military) astronauts, stepping away from their usual; and middle Americans, trying to catch a break.
Celebrate differencesDec 31, 2017 at 5:29 pm #3510186
David Heiss says—
“Was maximum time in the great outdoors a life goal that you consciously aimed for, or did it just work out that way? For Tipi and Monte it seems like a little of both was involved.
In my case I knew I loved backpacking from the moment of my first trip in 1973 (with my Dad, at age 17), but when I got married in 1982 I have to assume it was either cluelessness or hormones that led me to NOT make love of backpacking a key attribute to look for in a wife. Fortunately my wife and I connect beautifully in many other areas of life and I certainly don’t regret the choice I made, but when I see people who have found ways to spend huge, dreamy chunks of time in wild places I find myself wondering if that was an intentional life choice, or if, looking back, it was really a series of unplanned events that led to such an enviable outcome?”
Good question—whether it’s an intentional choice or unplanned events. In my case it was mostly an intentional choice—a “nature boy” since birth so I needed no real prodding—but also included a little bit of luck.
I remember sitting in a USAF barracks in the Republic of Panama in 1973 just before I got out and made a short list: Kelty pack (for $29!!), a pair of good boots and a good sleeping bag. I decided when I got out of the service (Memoirs of a Military Inmate) I’d start living outdoors with some serious intent. And the GI Bill got me attending a college in the mountains of North Carolina.
For me it’s not really the love of backpacking but the love of the outdoors which demands I sleep outside all the time and get my all-important Bag Nights. Backpacking is just a means to this end.Jan 3, 2018 at 7:35 pm #3510680
steven wBPL Member
One thing we should all be able to agree on is regardless of our personal opportunities for being outdoors, the numbers of casual campers/backpackers/outdoorsmen grows every year while the places we can enjoy nature shrink. This means opportunities for real outdoor solitude and real wilderness is quickly becoming a precious commodity.
In another forum a discussion revealed the the most remote location in the continental US is only 17 miles from the nearest man made artifact. The fact is as vast as our wilderness/national forests etc are, they are heavily compromised with previous and present infrastructure and increasing pressure to open them to multiple uses such as ATV and off roading. To me its clear that its only going to be another generation or two before the outdoor experience is going to be limited to the current equivalent of camping out in your neighborhood park.
My point is if you’re a serious backpacker/camper/hiker, we are quickly headed for a situation very parallel to advanced aging: do it now or loose the ability. I have many interests and hobbys(and a marriage) which I’d like to pursuit now that I’m retired but having recently experienced a week on the AT(and a pitiful introduction to real wilderness it is in reality) I see I’ve been missing out on all the things modern life takes away from you.
It was a real eye opener to see how good for the mind, body and soul the AT experience was(a perfect example: a motocross foot injury left me with surgery with the prognosis being 10 years of normal use followed by increasing arthritis and pain leading to fusion of the bones. Now at 17 years I’ve counted myself as lucky the pain is easily handled and transient…a week on the trail with 40lbs in a pack and its like the calendar has been rolled back 17 years…3 months later my foot has never been better and I can’t wait to give it more trail therapy).
I think in this forum there is no lack of understanding how great hiking and backpacking is but as a family man with a travel trailer I see how easy it is for the average person/family who RV’s to think they are experiencing the outdoors and avoiding the hardship of backpacking and long distance hiking when in fact that perception is backwards. RVing is bringing your daily fears with you as well as the stress and work of setting up, not to mention you’re still essentially living in a community(RV park), while backpacking is simple/easy and healthy and can be as solitary as you desire.
So be happy you’ve found the real deal(as good as it gets in todays world) and MAKE the time to enjoy it before that is no longer possible..Jan 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm #3510948
Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
“I’d rather wear out than rust out.”
Both the wife and I are retired educators and have been “dabbling” in backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, XC skiing, and now packrafting since the 60’s when the young men in our family needed a challenge and a diverse education. Today at age 77 the both of us have and are dealing with genomic health issue called cancer, and at times we have been in a “holding pattern”, we still follow Eric’s “Life Motto” when all possible.
“Life is a terminal illness and we have no excuse to not live each moment like it’s our last.”
Tiffany ReedJan 9, 2018 at 7:20 am #3511441
In response to the comment that the RV crowd is bringing their fears with them, I have to disagree. That might be true for some, but there are many reasons for experiencing the outdoors in ways other than backpacking. A good friend of mine has advanced rheumatoid arthritis; sleeping on the ground is no longer an option due to the pain. Having an RV means she can at least be closer to the amazing beauty of our public lands. I will probably follow in her footsteps some day although I greatly hope not, unless better treatments are found for autoimmune diseases, one of which I also have. I have also found that when sleeping in public campgrounds, our camper van is a lot quieter than a tent, and I can actually sleep and then put in a good hike the next day, instead of having to be in pain or increase meds the next day to cope. If that’s all I can do, I’m going to do it.
I would always rather be backpacking and in more remote country than sleeping in a tin can in a parking lot, but that’s just not always possible. The availability of funds also plays a role in my ability to get out there, as it does for others. I think the variety of posts here illustrate that we all have different life situations that influence the choices we make, which was probably the point of the thread. As someone said earlier, we prioritize to make outdoor life possible to the greatest extent we can. Some are much more successful and I hope they enjoy it and appreciate their own good fortune. I sure do, whenever I can!
Now the 35 footers with the satellite dish on top, I won’t pretend to understand.Jan 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm #3511491
brian HBPL Member
@b14Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
my truth is a melancholy one
getting out used to be easy. that was before marriage, before kids, before the mortgage, and before divorce. 10 yrs ago I lost my marriage, my [intact] family, my home, my business [when the markets melted], and even my yellow lab, all within a years time. It has been a decade of rebuilding. the thing that keeps me from taking more Me Time, more overnight/multi-day trips, is a self-imposed guilt trip, mired in economics, around not feeling more financially secure, and having the kind of dicretionary income to provide for my kids the way my folks did for me. down deep i know i am wasting precious time, but this is my truth. my Jones to take an extended trip builds for a couple yrs, then when near the bursting point i take a sudden trip [like my solo last October into Miter Basin near mt Whitney].
My GF likes to remind me that [we r 50ish] “we are the first generation in awhile to have LESS financial security than our parents”. Most of our friends & acquaintances are proving this.
Half my life ago, at 25, I spent 30 days & nights on the JMT+PCT from Matterhorn Peak to Whitney. I walked away from a job & put everything in storage to do it, and it ranks as 1 of the best decisions I ever made. I swore I’d get out on the trail for 2 weeks min. every year, to drink that taste of wild freedom. Life has been throwing curveballs ever since, and I guess I still haven’t found the right batting coach!Jan 10, 2018 at 6:12 am #3511614
Wow, Brian, I admire your determination to get out after all that calamity in your life. The wonderful thing is that nature really is a great healer for all that angst, which you and everyone else here already know. Doesn’t fix it but makes it easier to bear anyway. I hope you can find ways to get out, if only for shorter trips for a while.
I really should just head up the hill above my house and camp out more often. It’s right there, and I don’t need a permit or have to pay a fee. I keep looking at the more exotic options, but I’m only an hour’s hard hike from total seclusion. But right now it’s minus 8F. Better than last night’s minus 20.Jan 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm #3511664
Great points and I understand your point—get out while the Out still exists and before our last remaining wilderness areas become urban greenways and neighborhood parks.
And I hear what you’re saying about RVs and so-called RV “camping”. What a misnomer. I do everything in my power on backpacking trips to avoid at all costs RVs and asphalt roads and car campgrounds. I like what outdoorsman and grizz legend Doug Peacock has to say about them—
From the book GRIZZLY YEARS:
“By midmorning the next day I was moving, and by afternoon I had arrived at the ford: chilly, but no real problem. I had to cross the road, which I had been pretending did not exist. I waited below the edge of a high bank hidden behind a small grove of young pines, watching the sporadic flow of Winnebagos strung out along the highway. I did not want to be seen.”
“Whatever transcendence I had gained watching the grizzlies the day before slipped away as I crouched nervously below the road grade for fifteen minutes. I sank even lower into the trees as a ranger car passed. I didn’t want to let them know I was about. If I got into serious trouble, I didn’t want to be rescued. My considerable carcass could feed the bears.” DOUG PEACOCK(page 148)
He puts it in words I was never able to articulate—“Whatever transcendence I had gained . . . slipped away.” SO TRUE. For me personally and in my opinion only, seeing traffic or hearing traffic or crossing a road with rolling couch potatoes (and esp RVs) on a backpacking trip partially sucks away whatever transcendence I had gained on the days before . . .
Jan 10, 2018 at 9:30 pm #3511709
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Tipi Walter.
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Was maximum time in the great outdoors a life goal that you consciously aimed for, or did it just work out that way?
It seems like a lot of people envision that maximum time outdoors might be a good goal in life. Even Colin Fletcher who is famous for his long trips and writing, probably spent more time playing tennis than backpacking. Tennis was his passion, backpacking an avocation.
Perhaps it might be better to focus on quality of time outdoors. If one would spend one weekend a month backpacking, that is nearly a month outdoors! Short trips to familiar areas gives one time to explore the nooks and crannies, side canyons, promontories, views, and changes over time. I, like several of my friends, do this often.
I have done two 6-month Sierra Nevada backpacking trips (in my youth). They weren’t awe inspiring, life changing, or omnipotent. They were just walks and without the Internet to document them, I was unable to share the “epicness” of my life. To be honest, I had more fun spending 3 months on a motorcycle (pulling a mini tent trailer) driving close to 10K miles throughout the US and Canada in 1979.
I would suggest that living close to many hiking opportunities might be better than several extremely long hikes — making it easy to do a lot of short trips. I took this route a little over 40 years ago. Even though I was married with kids, I got out often, and my kids thought Mt San Jacinto was Daddy’s Mountain, and Joshua Tree was Daddy’s Desert.
My GF likes to remind me that [we r 50ish] “we are the first generation in awhile to have LESS financial security than our parents”. Most of our friends & acquaintances are proving this.
I am also a Baby Boomer, and the financial security of the “Great Generation” was more their experience of the depression and the drive to save money for the future, rather than conspicuous consumption of my generation. Although I have had my share of personal and financial challenges, I worked continuously to provide for financial security in retirement and at the same time spending ample time outdoors hiking, backpacking and camping. I am now retired and I don’t see how people can retire using Social Security as their only retirement income.
And here’s a point I think many miss… is backpacking superior to camping? I don’t think so. My wife will never go backpacking, but our goal over the past 15 years has been to go camping at least 100 days a year (see my earlier post on Recreation Inventory). Most years we hit that goal and I still got in my share of backpacking trips.
As to the RV in a parking lot as camping, it doesn’t have to be that way if you live in the right place. I have had campers for over 40 years and almost never camp in a “parking lot.” Here are three of those campers on trips (almost not believable) in Southern California, one of the most populous areas in the US.Jan 17, 2018 at 11:19 am #3512885
Rich GBPL Member
My Wife and I started backpacking together. We really enjoy it, and our vacations are almost always for a backpacking or peakbagging trip. I’ve been with the same company for 10 years and get 5 weeks vacation. She gets 4. We are not wealthy, but once gear is purchased, backpacking is a pretty cheap vacation. We get at least one week long trip every year and a few shorter ones.Jan 22, 2018 at 8:11 pm #3513737
D MBPL Member
@farwalkerLocale: On a trail
You make the time. Life is busy but as you grow older, (hopefully) you see that time is all you have and you make the best of what you have. It really IS a matter of priorities.Jan 25, 2018 at 5:26 pm #3514411
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
From another (thru-hiking) page I follow, here’s some experiences of mostly others from that group…
Trades: Heating technician for those who want summer off. Most other trades can be transient in nature too.
Academia: Teaching or community college lecturer (note: full profs have to teach 1 short summer usually).
Retail and warehouse jobs pick up during the holiday season. Probably some other seasonal jobs. Other contract-type or self-employment type jobs requiring physicality, but of course helps to be young on those.
Then again, think there’s a farmer who hikes in the winter on this site.
Season all the above to a particular set of circumstances (spouse, debt, expenses, and increasingly changes from the seasons typical weather). Could combine jobs that have the same off time and/seasons too if one needs mo’ money (mo’ headache though).
Myself? Retired early from the govt (more about avoiding the headaches), though now working in private schools. A little more money to my secure income and a lot less headaches. Most importantly, the traditional school district calendar dictates my time (summers and the start of winter … off).Jan 29, 2018 at 12:56 am #3515303
Edward John MBPL Member
Just live long enough to be unemployable but still reasonably fit and active and to not want the latest and greatest and uber-lightest gearJan 29, 2018 at 2:14 am #3515309
In response to the OP, you clearly made the same mistake a lot of people do when buying personal electronics. At least for a longer hike, you really should consider the impact of carrying that super sized screen smartphone on a backpacking trip and think about the weight and battery life before buying instead of just trying to make it work afterwards. You clearly were thinking about the wrong criteria when you picked your spouse. :p
The secret is to be annoying when you are around her too long, but not annoying enough she’ll want to leave you. Then she will be all for you getting out of the house for a while. Let us know how that works for you. ;-)
Jan 29, 2018 at 6:44 am #3515370
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Miner.
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
The secret is to be annoying when you are around her too long, but not annoying enough she’ll want to leave you.
Good luck with that one.
Don’t lose the phone numbers for the local counseling services.
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